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What Are Comorbidities and Why Are They Priority for Vaccination?

Those with co-morbidities belong to subgroup A3 in the priority list, next to frontliners and senior citizens.

With COVID-19 vaccination now underway in different parts of the country, everyone is itching to have themselves and their families inoculated as soon as possible. And lately, reports about individuals jumping the line of priority for vaccinations have been circling the news.

According to the list set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), the top priority for vaccination are frontliners— health care workers, hospital staff, and other individuals working to combat the coronavirus. Next would be senior citizens aged 60 and above, followed by those with comorbidities, and then the general public. (Read: Task Force Names Priority Areas for COVID-19 Vaccination)

Those being questioned for jumping the line claim that they have comorbidities which is why they already got the jab. But what exactly are the standards of the Department of Health (DOH), World Health Organization (WHO), and other experts to determine the people with comorbidities?

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Photo from TPG / Getty images / Forbes

What is a comorbidity?

According to Britannica, comorbidity is “a disease or condition that coexists with but often is independent of another disease or condition.” Such diseases can be in the form of diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and dementia among others.

And just yesterday, March 29, DOH has released a list of seven comorbidities that they will be prioritizing for the vaccination program against COVID-19. Dr. John Wong, an epidemiologist and member of the technical working group on data analytics of the IATF, was the one to announce the seven diseases and illnesses to be prioritized.

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Photos from LordHenriVoton/Getty Images/Harvard Health – Harvard University and Shutterstock/Arab News

DOH Standards

According to the DOH, individuals diagnosed with any of the below-listed illnesses and diseases will belong to A3— the subgroup for those who are not frontliners or senior citizens but are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. (Read: Meet the First Three Individuals to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine in the PH)

The identified comorbidities are the following:

  • chronic respiratory disease
  • hypertension
  • cardiovascular disease
  • chronic kidney disease
  • malignancy
  • diabetes mellitus
  • obesity

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